(JAPANESE PRINT BOOK -- MEIJA ERA).
(JAPANESE PRINT BOOK -- MEIJA ERA).

(JAPANESE PRINT BOOK -- MEIJA ERA).

[1905]. Paperback. This unusual text is a middle school textbook for plants, and was created, according to our Japanese linguist, in the 38th year of the reign of Emperor Meija (1852-1912), who ruled from 1867 until his death -- which dates it to 1905. Laid into a small 4to portfolio (paper over heavy card stock with paper label), it is published accordion style, which unfolded measures over 15 feet in length. Very good/very good. The portfolio is age toned, rubbed and lightly soiled and has a restored hinge; the text block itself has small paper loss to the sole text page (expertly restored) and archival strengthening of some of the accordion folds (versos only). Item #38372

Fascinating and lovely, if cryptic, this Japanese production apparently includes some Chinese characters identifying the drawings (which include marijuana) and naming the Japanese artists. A prologue in Japanese identifies it as a middle school text for identifying plants. As our knowledge of the Japanese and Chinese languages is, shall we say, extremely limited -- okay, nonexistent -- our bibliographical details are accordingly scanty. What we do know is that the watercolors are superb renderings accomplished entirely in shades of grey with only a couple of highlights in the palest of pink and green -- stark and simple, with no background. There are striking, delicate closeups of a variety of exotic-looking plants and flowers (one with butterfly hovering nearby) and a single dramatic landscape showing a snow-capped mountain, each of these twelve scenes occupying a two-page (13" X 9½") spread. Each watercolor has a small, round 5/8ths diameter rubberstamp the text of which we have not identified. A beautiful thing that must be seen to be appreciated.

Price: $1,500.00

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